By Dave Bouressa
Regeneration. Doctor Who fans are quite familiar with not only the term, but the process. It is the in-show explanation when The Doctor "dies" and regenerates into a new body, replacing the actor portraying him. And unfortunately, it is inevitable for every actor who plays the part to make this decision.
Current Doctor, Matt Smith, after playing the role for three years has decided to hang up his fez and bow-tie and walk away from the role.
Smith had this to say:
Doctor Who has been the most brilliant experience for me as an actor and a bloke, and that largely is down to the cast, crew and fans of the show.
"I'm incredibly grateful to all the cast and crew who work tirelessly every day to realise all the elements of the show and deliver Doctor Who to the audience. Many of them have become good friends and I'm incredibly proud of what we have achieved over the last four years.
"Having Steven Moffat as show runner write such varied, funny, mind bending and brilliant scripts has been one of the greatest and most rewarding challenges of my career. It's been a privilege and a treat to work with Steven - he's a good friend and will continue to shape a brilliant world for the Doctor.
The fans of Doctor Who around the world are unlike any other; they dress up, shout louder, know more about the history of the show (and speculate more about the future of the show) in a way that I've never seen before.
"Your dedication is truly remarkable. Thank you so very much for supporting my incarnation of the Time Lord, number 11, who I might add is not done yet - I'm back for the 50th anniversary and the Christmas special.
"It's been an honour to play this part, to follow the legacy of brilliant actors, and helm the Tardis for a spell with 'the ginger, the nose and the impossible one'. But when ya gotta go, ya gotta go and Trenzalore calls. Thank you guys. Matt."
Now for all you fellow whovians, do not fret. We will still have a bit more time with The Doctor. Matt Smith has been confirmed for Series (or Season) 8, which will split in half with the 2013 Christmas Special, from which companion Clara (Jenna Louise-Coleman) will continue the series with a new actor in the role of The Doctor. And don't forget, we still have the 50th Anniversary Special with David Tennant and John Hurt to look forward to.
At this point, no actor has been named to replace Smith, but in 2010, Smith wasn't named as Tennant's replacement until the last minute, so it may be a while until we see a name.